Staff and pupils at a Northamptonshire school were celebrating after being crowned the winner of the School of the Year in the annual county Education Awards.
Grendon CofE School took the title at a presentation evening held at the Park Inn by Radisson and attended by more than 450 people.
The awards are organised by the Chronicle & Echo and our sister paper the Northamptonshire Telegraph and held in conjunction with the Northamptonshire County Council and Connexions Youth Ambition Awards.
In the school of the year category, sponsored by Stanair and Shire Security, Grendon CofE School was nominated along with Queen Eleanor Primary School, Wren Spinney School and Kingsthorpe College. Judges praised Grendon for being ranked number one in Northamptonshire for high achieving pupils.
In the other categories, Bridgewater Primary School won the ICT Award, sponsored by Northampton Town Area Improvement Partnership, for their ICT skills in building a game, Bridge Craft, and the children’s use of blogs and Twitter for social development.
The Best In Primary School Award, sponsored by Incredible Bakery Company, was won by Grendon CofE Primary School for gaining an outstanding rating from Ofsted and giving pupils the chance to drive their own learning.
Wren Spinney School won the Best in Secondary School Award, sponsored by Northamptonshire Connexions, for their Wren Spinney News film which details all the news from the previous week in a five-minute clip.
The Inspirational Teaching Award, sponsored by ACS, was won by Nicola Ayres from Kingsthorpe College, for her role as class teacher and more recently, head of faculty.
Kingsthorpe College was the winner of the Leadership Team Award, sponsored by One Stop Shop, for the Key Stage 4 English teachers and students giving up their own time to improve individual results.
The Sports Achievement Award, sponsored by The Qube, was won by Taylor Hinds in the individual category, for her achievement in being selected for Arsenal Ladies FC and England under 15 Football Training Squad, and by Wrenn School Rugby Team, for their hard work in winning the national under 15 championships.
The Lifetime Achievement Award, sponsored by Western Power Distribution, was won by Debbie Withers, for her 23 years’ service to Wren Spinney School and 14 years as headteacher.
The final award in the Education Awards was the The University of Northampton’s Education Achievement of the Year award, which went to Grendon CofE School.
A school news team, a female engineering apprentice and a humanitarian aid volunteer are among the winners in the first Northamptonshire Youth Ambition Awards last night.
The awards were created by Northamptonshire County Council to celebrate the county’s young people and all the great things they are doing outside of school in their local community, home life and work life.
Councillor Heather Smith, deputy leader and cabinet member for children’s services, said: “Reading through the nominations was an honour and a privilege. Time and time again we came across examples of how young people refused to let obstacles get in their way. We saw examples of bravery, compassion, generosity and true grit. Northamptonshire can quite rightly be very proud of its young people.”
The winners were:
The Arts Award: Wrenn Spinney News Team. Presenting the award, Councillor Smith said: “The news team at Wrenn Spinney produce a weekly audio-visual news report which gives team members the opportunity to learn skills like interviewing, presenting, editing and set design. The team has gained lots of new work skills and had lots of fun in the process.”
* Project or Campaign of the Year: Phoenix Youth Centre
Councillor Smith said: “The young volunteer team has 23 members ranging from age 13 to 20. As well as their commitment to the centre itself, they are passionate about achieving their own educational goals to help them support others.”
* Young Apprentice of the Year: Katherine Vass
Councillor Smith said: “Not only has Katherine excelled in her course work at Northampton College where she is studying engineering, she has contributed to her employer’s productivity and contributes to the team environment. She’s an excellent ambassador for apprenticeships and for women in engineering roles.”
* Role Model of the Year: Gabrielle Steel
Councillor Smith said: “Gabrielle is an outstanding example of how we can make a difference. She’s raised funds for charity that have benefitted disabled children here in Northamptonshire and she’s helped support the international humanitarian aid efforts in Sierra Leone and Syria. She gives her time selflessly to help others.”
* The Taking Charge of Your Life award had joint winners: Mark Atkins (better known as Sparkie) and Mohammed Fatahi
Councillor Smith said: “There were a lot of similarities in the stories of these young men. Both Mohammed and Sparkie came to England as young boys and faced various challenges as a result. What makes them award winners is the fact that they both grasped the opportunities available to them with commitment and passion.”